, Volume 123, Issue 1, pp 169-191
Date: 12 Apr 2011

Integrating sorghum whole genome sequence information with a compendium of sorghum QTL studies reveals uneven distribution of QTL and of gene-rich regions with significant implications for crop improvement

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Abstract

A comprehensive analysis was conducted using 48 sorghum QTL studies published from 1995 to 2010 to make information from historical sorghum QTL experiments available in a form that could be more readily used by sorghum researchers and plant breeders. In total, 771 QTL relating to 161 unique traits from 44 studies were projected onto a sorghum consensus map. Confidence intervals (CI) of QTL were estimated so that valid comparisons could be made between studies. The method accounted for the number of lines used and the phenotypic variation explained by individual QTL from each study. In addition, estimated centimorgan (cM) locations were calculated for the predicted sorghum gene models identified in Phytozome (JGI GeneModels SBI v1.4) and compared with QTL distribution genome-wide, both on genetic linkage (cM) and physical (base-pair/bp) map scales. QTL and genes were distributed unevenly across the genome. Heterochromatic enrichment for QTL was observed, with approximately 22% of QTL either entirely or partially located in the heterochromatic regions. Heterochromatic gene enrichment was also observed based on their predicted cM locations on the sorghum consensus map, due to suppressed recombination in heterochromatic regions, in contrast to the euchromatic gene enrichment observed on the physical, sequence-based map. The finding of high gene density in recombination-poor regions, coupled with the association with increased QTL density, has implications for the development of more efficient breeding systems in sorghum to better exploit heterosis. The projected QTL information described, combined with the physical locations of sorghum sequence-based markers and predicted gene models, provides sorghum researchers with a useful resource for more detailed analysis of traits and development of efficient marker-assisted breeding strategies.

Communicated by E. Guiderdoni.